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Glavin v. Restaino

March 26, 2006

MARK E. GLAVIN, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ROBERT M. RESTAINO, INDIVIDUALLY, AND IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS A JUDGE OF THE NIAGARA FALLS CITY COURT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge

DECISION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

In this case, Plaintiffs claim that Defendant, Niagara Falls City Court Judge Robert M. Restaino, illegally detained them because they could not provide information about the source of a beeping wristwatch alarm during his court proceedings. Plaintiffs are persons charged with various offenses under New York law, who must appear from time to time in the City Court of Niagara Falls. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs seek monetary damages and injunctive relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before this Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

The following facts, which are alleged in the Complaint, are assumed true for purposes of the instant motion. Plaintiffs Mark E. Glavin, Joseph R. McCarthy, Marcellus Overton, Martha R. Seaberry, and Dedrick G. Williams are charged with various offenses, which require them to appear in the Niagara Falls City Court on a periodic basis. (Compl., ¶ 4). On Friday, March 11, 2005, at approximately 10:00 a.m, Judge Restaino was presiding over a session during which Plaintiffs' cases were calendared, when a wristwatch alarm sounded several times. (Compl., ¶¶ 5-6). Apparently believing that the sound was a ringing cell phone, Judge Restaino asked the persons present in the courtroom, including Plaintiffs, about the source of the noise. (Compl., ¶¶ 7-11). As each Plaintiffs' appearance concluded, Judge Restaino assessed new bail requirements for each of them, based on his conclusion that they had failed to cooperate in his investigation as to the source of the noise. (Compl., ¶ 12). As a result, each of the Plaintiffs was taken into custody and placed in the lockup for a minimum of one and one-half hours. (Compl., ¶¶ 12-24).

B. Procedural Background

Plaintiffs commenced this action on July 11, 2005, by filing a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. On July 29, 2005, Defendant filed the instant Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.*fn1 On September 20, 2005, upon Plaintiffs' request, this Court cancelled oral argument on the Motion and deemed it submitted on the papers. For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for dismissal of a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." FED. R. CIV. P. 12 (b)(6). When resolving a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must accept the factual allegations contained in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Still v. DeBuono, 101 F.3d 888, 891 (2d Cir. 1996); see also Press v. Quick & Reilly, Inc., 218 F.3d 121, 128 (2d Cir. 2000) (noting that factual allegations in the complaint must be accepted as true on a motion to dismiss). Moreover, a complaint should not be dismissed "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Cohen v. Koenig, 25 F.3d 1168, 1172 (2d Cir. 1994) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 78 S.Ct. 99, 102, 2 L.Ed. 2d 80 (1957)).

To survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must assert a cognizable claim and allege facts that, if true, would support such a claim. See Boddie v. Schnieder, 105 F.3d 857, 860 (2d Cir. 1997). At the same time, "[c]onclusory allegations or legal conclusions masquerading as factual conclusions will not suffice to survive a motion to dismiss." Smith v. Local 819 I.B.T. Pension Plan, 291 F.3d 236, 240 (2d Cir. 2002) (internal citations omitted). Ultimately, in the context of such a motion, "[t]he issue is not whether a plaintiff will or might ultimately prevail on her claim, but whether [he] is entitled to offer evidence in support of the allegations in the complaint." Hamilton Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, Inc. v. Hamilton Coll., 128 F.3d 59, 62 (2d Cir. 1997) (citation omitted).

B. Judge Restaino's Motion to Dismiss

Plaintiffs assert a single cause of action against Judge Restaino under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege Judge Restaino violated their rights guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution by illegally detaining them during their appearances in Niagara Falls City Court. ...


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